In 2007, Bobby Lavon Buckner was indicted for the death of 12-year-old Ashleigh Moore and charged with kidnapping, sexual assault and murder.  According to ABA Journal, “the case was set for the tenth time to go to trial in April 2011, but was continued once again when prosecutors announced they would seek the death penalty.”

The trial judge dismissed the charges against Buckner stating that the prosecutors violated the accused's right to a speedy trial.  The trial judge overseeing the case pointed out that “the prosecution may have been using the death penalty as leverage in plea negotiations.”  The Georgia Supreme Court has agreed with the trial courts decision.  In his opinion, Justice Keith Blackwell stated that the trial court had neither “clearly erred” nor “abused its discretion.”

6th Amendment Right to Speedy Trial

Criminal defendants, like everyone else, have constitutional rights.  One of them is the right to a speedy trial.  The 6th Amendment right to speedy trial attaches once the defendant is arrested or formally charged.  The remedy for a violation of the right to speedy trial is dismissal with prejudice.

Do you think the Georgia Supreme Court made the right decision?